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£1.17 million of town centre improvement projects in Aberdeenshire shown the green light

By David Porter

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Nine Aberdeenshire projects aimed at driving local economic activity and stimulating town centre recovery are to share £1.17 million in funding.

Earlier this year the Scottish Government announced an £18 million capital injection into the Town Centre Fund (TCF) for investment in 2020-21.

Criteria included the deliverability of the project, sustainability and transformation to key town centres within Aberdeenshire.

The Aberdeenshire Town Centre panel looked for projects which would stimulate and support a wide range of investments to support economic recovery across the region.

The successful Aberdeenshire projects are a town centre enhancement scheme in Aboyne, public realm improvements in Fraserburgh, a community garden in Stonehaven, town centre improvements in Ballater, redevelopment of a property in Fraserburgh, creation of a community garden in Peterhead, redevelopment of the V&A halls in Ballater and a youth room for the MACBI centre in Mintlaw.

Councillor Peter Argyle
Councillor Peter Argyle

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, councillor Peter Argyle, said: “This money is intended to support the economic recovery of our town centres, to bring transformational change for towns and their surrounding communities by creating growth which supports them to become more vibrant, creative, enterprising and accessible places.

“The fund was heavily oversubscribed making the decision difficult.

"All those projects which applied merited funding and Aberdeenshire Council officers will work with the unsuccessful groups to support them find the funding they require.”

Vice-chair councillor John Cox added: “The principle aim of this fund is to create increased footfall in our town centres through local improvements and partnership working within our communities will be key to achieving that.

“This fund has been the catalyst for many new projects being suggested in Aberdeenshire. I would encourage all communities who have not been successful in this round of funding to continue developing your ideas as when grants like this do become available they often come with very tight timescales.”

Work is already underway at the MACBI centre
Work is already underway at the MACBI centre

Details of the nine successful projects are as follows -

Youth Area – Happy Youths = Healthy Youths: Mintlaw and Central Buchan Initiative (MACBI) - £33,093.

Plans are underway to create an extension to MACBI for a youth fitness centre.

A spokeswoman for the centre said: "We would like to say a huge thank you to Aberdeenshire Council's, Aberdeenshire Town Centre Panel for considering and approving our application to provide us with the remainder of funds needed to complete our Youth Area.

"The remaining funding will allow us to complete the works required to turn the Youth Area into a safe, usable space for opening early next year.

"At this time we are aiming to open the extension in February 2021 with our Mini Macs Nursery then having an opening in April for the Youth Area to open as soon as we have employed a Youth Leader.

"In terms of funding we are extremely grateful to all organisations, companies, charities and customers of the Macbi Community Hub and Macbi Cafe who have contributed to the project however due to closure of the Hub & Cafe we still have a slight shortfall.

"Therefore we are still actively applying for funding to finish the project and would like to ask if any local companies or individuals are in a position to donate no matter how big or small please get in touch by emailing conniemacbi@outlook.com or calling the hub on 01771 624593 and asking for Connie Strachan."

Other prijects supported include-

Victoria Park Community Gardens: Peterhead Area Community Trust (PACT) - £201,495.

Plans are in place to deliver a greenspace for the residents of Peterhead.

Fraserburgh public realm improvement scheme (Kirk Brae and Glover Garden): Aberdeenshire Council - Fraserburgh 2021 Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme – £173,360.

Plans are underway as part of the Fraserburgh 2021 project to deliver public realm to the area which has been regenerated.

Together with a Japanese-themed garden these will be the finishing touches to the Fraserburgh project.

34 Broad Street Fraserburgh Hotel Redevelopment: North East Scotland Preservation Trust (NESPT) - £292,233.

Funding was granted to purchase 34 Broad Street as part of the 2019 Scottish Government Town Centre Funding.

This funding package will enable the redevelopment of the property in a phased approach.

Aboyne town centre enhancement project: Mid Deeside Community Trust (MDCT) - £135,000.

The community council along with the business community are leading on a project to redevelop a piece of land at the rear of the station into a seating area with canopy to assist the businesses in that area with physical distancing and to create a recreational place for the community or visitors to sit.

Phoenix Community Garden: Stonehaven Business Association - £ 48,698.

The town improvement group, with the business association leading, are looking at turning an area of the main square into a garden/seating area for public use.

Ballater Village Greens – Enhancement Project: Ballater Enhancement Group per Ballater (Royal Deeside) Ltd - £ 153,111.

This project involves several town centre improvements projects for Ballater.

Victoria and Albert Halls Ballater Transformational Enhancement Programme: Victoria and Albert Halls (Ballater) Trust - £142,233.

A series of improvement and upgrading works planned for the Ballater Victoria and Albert Halls complex in order to improve the quality of accommodation and facilities provided within the buildings.

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